A new motion picture in which James Bond fights Nazis and saves Jews during the Holocaust is scheduled for release this Chanukah season. Well, not exactly. Daniel Craig is the British actor who stars in the new blockbuster James Bond movie Quantum of Solace. Craig will play another character in 2008 and unlike Bond, this character is based on a real life hero. Craig plays Tuvia Bielski in the movie Defiance. Bielski and his brothers, Zus and Asael, led the Jewish effort that rescued 1,200 fellow Jews from the Nazis and started a partisan brigade that battled the German Wehrmacht. Zus Bielski is portrayed by Liev Schreiber.
The movie is based Nechama Tec’s 1993 book, Defiance: The Bielski Partisans. An additional work, 2003’s The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews was written by Peter Duffy. Duffy’s book did much to bring the heroism of the Bielski brothers to the wider audience that they so rightly deserve.
Tuvia Bielski (1906-1987) was the leader of the partisan group known as the Bielski Partisans. The group was situated in the Naliboki forest in the border area between Belarus and Poland. The Bielski group rescued Jews from the ghettos and brought them to a forest sanctuary where they created a society based on surviving the war, fighting the Nazis and preserving the Jewish way of life. And they succeeded. There was simply no other similar group during the Holocaust that had such success.
The Bielski Brothers’ story is worth telling—they fought back, saved other Jews, survived and sought revenge. Their story should become one of the stories that people think of when they recall the Holocaust.
Defiance offers an opportunity to correct the history of the Holocaust by remembering the contributions made by the Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky and his Betar student movement. Jabotinsky molded and commanded Betar from its inception in 1923 through his death in 1940. The political enemies of Jabotinsky and his movement have worked since the 1930s to delegitimize them. First lies and slander were hurled at them. Later the Leftists made every effort to write them out of history, so their views, and the views of their ideological heirs, would seem less valid. The Jabotinsky Zionists introduced an authentically Jewish worldview to Zionism. Many of the fighting heroes of the Holocaust embraced the new ideology. Peter Duffy writes that Zus Bielski attended Betar meetings before the war. The man the Bielskis entrusted with the role of chief of staff of their partisan group was a former Polish army officer and Betar veteran named Layzer Malbin. Malbin and Zus commanded the fighting units while Tuvia ran the camp and made political decisions. In Defiance, Malbin is played by Mark Feuerstein who is perhaps best known for the NBC sitcom Good Morning, Miami.
There are other well-known Betar trained men who fought the Nazis and led underground fighters during the war, and these heroes must be remembered too.
The most famous Jewish leader of armed resistance was Mordechai Anielwicz, commander of the ZOB (Jewish Fighting Organization) during the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Anielwicz received paramilitary training in Betar as a young teenager and left Betar before the war. The ZOB had a socialist orientation and Betar as an organization did not participate in it.
The Jewish Military Organization, (ZZW) was the other armed resistance group in the Warsaw ghetto uprising. The ZZW was led and manned by Betar members and their allies. Betar’s fighters in the Warsaw ghetto uprising were largely written out of history by the Left. Moshe Arens, Israel’s former defense minister and a Betar alum, recently wrote a yet to be published book on Betar’s heroic battle against the S.S. in the ghetto. Articles by Arens about the ZZW were published in Yad Vashem Studies, Haaretz, and The Jerusalem Post and have helped to create a far more accurate account of the ZZW’s participation in the uprising.
In the Vilna Ghetto, Betar leader Joseph Glazman was deputy commander of the United Partisan Organization, the only armed Jewish resistance group in that ghetto.
Professor Daniel J. Elazar (1934-1999) was a scholar of the Jewish political tradition. In the May 15, 1981 edition of the journal Sh’ma, Elazar remarked about Jabotinsky’s legacy, writing:
“Would there be serious public commemoration of the 100th birthday of Zev Jabotinsky had it not been for the fact that the Likud won the election in Israel in 1977? Not likely. For thirty years and more, Jabotinsky was one of those non-persons in Israel and the Jewish world… The ruling Labour Party made him a non-person for the same reasons that it portrayed Menachem Begin and his supporters as uncivilized fascists—it is easier to beat the opposition by painting it as irrelevant, intolerable and non-existent, until it is too strong to be dismissed.”
Defiance offers an opportunity to remind today’s Jews about Jabotinsky’s vital contribution to Jewish thought. His words and ideas animated a generation to resist the Nazis and fight for the freedom of Israel. The Islamofascists and Iranians are focused on destroying Israel and the Jewish People in a future Holocaust more intense than the original. Jabotinsky needs to be remembered.
Moshe Phillips is a member of the Executive Committee of the Philadelphia Chapter of Americans For a Safe Israel, AFSI (www.phillyafsi.com). Moshe’s blog can be found at http://phillyafsi.blogtownhall.com.
By Moshe Phillips - Published on 04/12/2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
A new motion picture in which James Bond fights Nazis and saves Jews during the Holocaust is scheduled for release this Chanukah season. Well, not exactly. Daniel Craig is the British actor who stars in the new blockbuster James Bond movie Quantum of Solace. Craig will play another character in 2008 and unlike Bond, this character is based on a real life hero. Craig plays Tuvia Bielski in the movie Defiance. Bielski and his brothers, Zus and Asael, led the Jewish effort that rescued 1,200 fellow Jews from the Nazis and started a partisan brigade that battled the German Wehrmacht. Zus Bielski is portrayed by Liev Schreiber.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Country squires in fur coats and farmers in rags, all lumped together. And all ages from confused old men to frightened children. And alone, in groups, or in lines; from trees, from telegraph poles, or the gallows. Some with their caps and hats on their heads. And also two women; both young and pretty. And the spectators, often posing for photos. A soldier who appears to be amused stands over the body of a Ukrainian priest. Nazi criminals? You have to ask!
Anton Holzer's collection of photographs speaks volumes. And will shock; for the facts are not yet known in the wider world. It's a photographic story that demonstrates that the old Austrian K.u.K. Army in the Balkans, in Poland and in Russia was not very much better than the German Wehrmacht in World War II with its contribution to the Holocaust. In Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia, along the Adriatic and in Galicia not thousands but tens of thousands of innocent civilians, the vast majority without any legal process and only because of hysterical outbursts from K.u.K. officers who thought every civilian was a spy, were summarily executed.
The worst affected were the Ukrainians and the Jews. In East Galicia every constable, watchman, sergeant, had the power to order that every alleged spy, every arbitrary suspect, could be hanged without any formalities. The newspapers carried photos of arrests and public executions; Russian Spy Arrested, Farmer is Suspected Spy, Suspicious Female Spy Captured, German Gendarme with a Jewish Spy, were typical captions.
The public hangings were photographed and went on sale as postcards. The fear of spies had to be widely spread. Training courses for potential hangmen were available.
The K.u.K. army was ordered to spread terror: In Serbian border towns and villages take hostages. In the event of any incidents and to justify hostages burn down the place, to paraphrase an instruction to military commanders dated 12th August 1914. The first massacre of Serbian civilians took place in the third week of the war.
At an execution of a prominent prisoner a photograph was taken of Vienna's laughing hangman, Josef Lang, who was brought in for the occasion; dressed in bow-tie and bowler hat Lang stands smiling over the corpse of Cesare Battisti. He is surrounded by a laughing crowd of civilians and soldiers. Battisti, a former K.u.K. politician was an Italian patriot and had therefore joined the Italian Army. When he was captured by the Austrians, he was imprisoned, charged with betrayal and hanged in public.
In Sabac on 18th August 1914 Field Marshal Lieutenant Kasimir von Lütgendorf ordered three of his own soldiers to be executed for being drunk. The bloody execution, carried out with bayonets, took place in the square directly outside the town's church. In 1920 Lütgendorf was sentenced to 6 months military detention but without loss of rank or military honours.
Anton Holzer's book Das Lächeln der Henker - Der unbekannte Krieg gegen die Zivilbevölkerung 1914-1918* (Primus Verlag) will not be widely read in Austria says reviewer Hellmut Butterweck in the Wiener Zeitung newspaper dated 12th December 2008.
This theme is an indigestible morsel for Austrian self-image, he concludes.
*The Smile of the Hangman - the unknown war against the civil population 1914-1918.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Friends and Brothers! Bolshevism is the enemy of the Russian people. It has brought countless disasters to our country. Enough blood has been spilled! There has been enough starvation, forced labour and suffering in the Bolshevik torture chambers! Arise and join in the struggle for freedom! Long may peace with honour with Germany prevail!
General Vlasov’s appeal to the Russian nation,
27 December 1942
In August 1941 the commander of Einsatzgruppe B, Artur Nebe, called up experts from the Criminal Technical Institute to help him solve a problem. A short while before, Heinrich Himmler had visited the Belorussian capital of Minsk to witness the execution of a hundred ‘saboteurs’. It was the first time he had seen men killed, shot a dozen at a time face down in an open pit. He asked Nebe to test other methods that were less brutalizing to those who carried out the executions. The experts drove to Russia in trucks filled with explosives and gassing equipment. The morning after their arrival they drove out to a wood outside Minsk, where they packed two wooden bunkers with 250 kilograms of explosive and twenty mental patients seized from a Soviet asylum. The first attempt to blow them up failed, and the wounded and frightened victims were packed back into the bunkers with a further 100 kilograms of explosive. This time they were blown to smithereens, and Jewish prisoners were forced to scour the area picking up the human remains. The group then tried a different method at an asylum in Mogilev. Here they herded mental patients into a bricked-up laboratory, into which they inserted a pipe connected to a car exhaust. Fumes from the car took too long to kill the victims, and the car was swapped for a truck, which could generate a larger volume of fumes. The victims died in eight minutes. Gas killing became the preferred option. Altogether an estimated 10,000 died in asylums across German-occupied territory: men, women and children.1
These murderous experiments were part of a programme of ethnic cleansing and ‘counter-insurgency’ in the East that led to the deaths of millions of Jews, Soviet prisoners of war, captured Communists, partisans and ordinary people caught in the crossfire of ideological and racial war - a harvest of dead unparalleled in the history of modern war. Few of those who witnessed German tanks rolling past their villages in the early days of the invasion knew what to expect of the invader. In the Baltic states, Belorussia and the Ukraine there was strong hostility to Stalin and Stalinism, but alienation from Soviet rule did not necessarily mean that German rule would be any more welcome. Even collaboration with the invader, with the usual implication of betrayal and opportunism, should not always be taken at face value.
There is no doubt that some of those who found themselves under German control in the East did work with the invader. Some did so voluntarily, spurred on by a genuine loathing of Soviet Communism. Some did so in the mistaken belief that the Germans had enlightened views on the restoration of private land ownership and capitalist enterprise. (In Kiev a number of Jewish merchants even petitioned the German authorities for permission to restart their businesses.)2 Some did so because they saw an opportunity to set up independent national states long denied them by Soviet repression. National committees were formed in the Baltic states, in the Ukraine and in the Caucasus area. The largest number of collaborators were to be found helping the German armed forces. The recruitment of Soviet military labour began not long after the invasion. Soviet prisoners or local labourers were used as auxiliary volunteers. They performed mainly menial jobs - building defences, hauling supplies or building airfields and camps. They were employed in secret at first, for Hitler had expressly forbidden the use of Soviet labour. Rather than use their labour power for the war effort, the Germans left millions of prisoners of war in huge open camps to die of malnutrition and disease.3 But German commanders in Russia soon found they had no choice but to recruit local labour. The vast area of the front and the speed of the advance made it impossible to supply enough German hands to run the whole military apparatus that backed up the front line. By the end of the summer of 1943 Soviet recruits were to be found in the ranks of the fighting force itself, mobilized for the crusade against Bolshevism.
At first the recruits were drawn mainly from the non-Russian nationalities, who were more hostile to the Soviet system. In 1941 the prisoner-of-war camps were combed for prisoners from the Caucasus or Turkestan, who were removed, fitted out with German uniforms, given mainly German officers (only seventy-four of the released prisoners were given officer status) and inferior Soviet weapons. The Islamic units were supplied with an imam each, and Sunni and Shi’ite priests were trained at theological schools in Dresden and Gottingen to meet the high demand for Islamic instruction among the troops. Many of the recruited men were added to existing German divisions, in small numbers as a safeguard against defection.4 But as the war went on they were formed into larger units. There were two Ukrainian divisions, a division from Turkestan, an SS division raised from Galicia, and more than 150,000 Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians. Above all there were the Cossacks. These military tribesmen were legendary fighters, with a long and bloody history of service to the Tsars. Many fought against the Bolsheviks in the civil war, and they were never reconciled to a system that denied them a national existence and savagely suppressed the traditions of Cossack life. They made no secret of their desire to build a national homeland — Kazakia — but they were welcomed by German commanders as comrades in arms.5
Cossack regiments in the Red Army crossed over to the enemy and volunteered for service. They formed fast-moving cavalry squadrons and were used to hunt down partisans. When in 1942 the Cossack homelands in the south were liberated by German armies, they were greeted by the entire populations of villages and farmsteads singing local anthems and bearing gifts of food and flowers. The men dug up the swords, daggers and rifles that they had buried away years before and rode out in full costume, with the familiar crisscross bullet belts and sabres, to offer their services. One ancient leader, the hetman Kulakov, long believed to be dead, emerged from hiding and headed a magnificent tribal procession into the Cossack capital of Poltava. The horsemen were recruited into the German army that was approaching Stalingrad. They were sent off to hunt down groups of Red Army stragglers, which they did with a ferocious and merciless efficiency. In 1943 even Hitler overcame his prejudice against Asian peoples and agreed to the first full Cossack division. The numbers multiplied. There were by 1944 over 250,000 Cossacks serving on the German side.6
In total an estimated one million Soviet soldiers ended up fighting against their country. Many did so out of desperation, as the only alternative to dying in the prisoner-of-war camps or being sent to the Reich as forced labourers, where an estimated 750,000 died of mistreatment and neglect.7 This was hardly voluntary collaboration in any meaningful sense of the term, though it earned most of them a death warrant or a prison sentence when at the end of the war they found themselves on the losing side. Some of those who defected did so with greater enthusiasm. For the anti-guerrilla campaign the Germans hired gangs of Soviet mercenaries and freebooters to root out the resisters. They asked few questions about what methods were used. A Soviet engineer, Voskoboinikov, virtually ran the area around Orel and Kursk for the Germans. With 20,000 men and twenty-four tanks he terrorized the population, collecting taxes and food by force, murdering anyone who resisted. Soviet paratroopers dropped into the area assassinated him in January 1942.8
There were plenty of replacements. Voskoboinikov was succeeded by the most notorious defector of all, Bronislav Kaminsky, another Soviet engineer who established a reign of terror and crime across the region. Backed by 10,000 men and thousands of camp followers, Kaminsky was left to pacify the region as he saw fit. His forces became part of the pretentiously titled Russian National Army of Liberation, though they liberated little save other people’s possessions. The reputation of the Kaminsky Brigade vied with that of the SS. Heinrich Himmler, who controlled the brigade, withdrew it from Russia in 1944 to deal with a Polish revolt in Warsaw. The behaviour of the brigade in slaughtering thousands of Polish civilians in scenes of appalling cruelty proved too much even for the hardened stomachs of the SS. Kaminsky was shot on the orders of his German mentor, and the remnants of his unit were sent off to form the nucleus of another renegade Russian army being formed to fight in the last ditch against Communism. They arrived at the Russian camp in Wurttemberg under the astonished gaze of their new commander, General Buniachenko, a procession of horse-drawn carts carrying both armed and unarmed men, wearing every kind of uniform, accompanied by their women, who were draped in dresses and jewels they had looted. The officers wore a row of watches on each wrist. Buniachenko was dumbfounded: ‘This is what you are giving me -bandits, robbers, thieves?’9
The man the Kaminsky outlaws were going to serve was General Andrei Vlasov, who only three years before had distinguished himself in the defence of Moscow and was recognized as one of Stalin’s favourites. He was now the head of the Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia and the nominal leader of those Soviet citizens, more than five million in number, now living under German rule. Vlasov looked the very model of a Prussian general: tall and heavily built, with his hair combed back tightly from a receding hairline and small horn-rimmed spectacles, his appearance was austere and militaristic. He wore no medals or insignia, save a small white, blue and red cockade of the Russian Liberation Army, whose commander he had also now become. He saw himself as the spokesman of a different Russia from Stalin’s, but his appeal was always overshadowed by his decision to pursue that Russia at the side of Hitler.
Vlasov was born in 1900, the thirteenth and last son of a peasant. After a seminary education, he was called up into the fledgling Red Army in 1919 and fought in some of the bitterest conflicts of the civil war in the Caucasus, the Crimea and the Ukraine. He became a successful career soldier and, like Zhukov, was lucky enough to survive the purges. He became a Communist Party member in 1930 and won the Order of Lenin (and a gold watch) in 1940. His unit was the last to fight its way out of the Kiev pocket in September 1941; in November Vlasov’s 20th Army was defending the northern approaches to the Soviet capital; in January he led the counter-offensive to encircle the whole German force in front of Moscow. In March 1942 Vlasov led the 2nd Shock Army on the Volkhov Front south of Leningrad in its effort to break the German line, but it was encircled and the army annihilated in June. Vlasov was captured on July 12 while hiding in a village hut. He was taken to a special camp for prominent prisoners at Vinnitsa in the Ukraine, where Hitler had his forward headquarters. Here he wrote to the German authorities suggesting the idea of an anti-Stalin Russian Liberation Army, making the most of anti-Bolshevik sentiment among prisoners of war and the populations of the occupied areas.10
There are various reasons suggested for Vlasov’s sudden conversion. His brother was shot in the civil war for alleged anti-Bolshevik conspiracy; he had given his elderly parents a cow as a present, and they were punished for it as ‘rich peasants’; he is reported to have been shocked by the sight of Ukrainians greeting the Germans with flowers, bread and salt, which awoke in him a realization of how unpopular Stalin was.11 The most likely explanation is the one Vlasov himself gave: he was alienated from a system that traded in lies and deceit, butchered its own people and threw thousands of soldiers into battles for which they were poorly prepared.12 He soon made his political credentials public. Despite the disapproval of Hitler, leading diplomats and officers conspired to have Vlasov released, in order to establish a Russian liberation movement, whose founding meeting was held in Smolensk in December 1942. The ‘Smolensk Declaration’ was a direct political challenge not just to Stalin but to the whole Soviet system. Vlasov pledged his movement to abolish collective farms and the state-run economy, and to establish civil rights for all, but within a ‘New Europe’ modelled on German lines. There was no mention of democracy.13
Hitler remained immovably opposed to the Vlasov project. He feared that a Russian liberation movement would undermine Germany’s own plans for the East, and he deeply distrusted the motives of any Russian. When in September 1943 the German line broke at a point manned by Eastern volunteer units, Hitler flew into a rage and insisted on drawing the collaborators out of the line and sending them to western and southern Europe. This effectively undermined the whole basis of collaboration. Vlasov and a great many other former Soviet soldiers did not want to fight America and Britain on Germany’s behalf. They were interested only in freeing Russia from the Stalinist grip. Nevertheless, thousands of Soviet soldiers were left guarding the West Wall. On D-Day they surrendered to their bemused enemy with shouts of ‘Ruskii, Ruskii’. The Liberation Committee was accepted by Hitler only in September 1944, when everyone who could fight was needed to save Germany from Soviet vengeance. Vlasov was given two weak divisions, with not the remotest prospect of liberating anyone in the East. There was one final twist to the story. When Vlasov’s Russian divisions finally saw action in March and April 1945 they ended up fighting the Germans again - protecting the people of Prague from an SS force on the rampage against a Czech revolt.14 Vlasov and his men tried then to reach American lines, hoping that the United States would start a second anti-Soviet war and let them fight alongside. They were caught by the Red Army. Some, including wounded men in hospital in Prague, were shot on the spot.15 The rest were brought back to the Soviet Union, where a grisly fate awaited them. Refusing to recant, Vlasov and his senior colleagues were tortured with exceptional ferocity. Tried in July 1946 in camera on treason charges, he was sentenced to death on August 1. The following day he was hanged; rumour had it that he was strung up with piano wire, with a hook dug into the back of his skull. Vlasov told one of his interrogators, ‘In time, the people will remember us with warmth.’16
The reaction to Vlasov after 1945 was mixed. In the Soviet Union the official line was to condemn him as a coward and a traitor who deserved rough Communist justice. Vlasov’s supporters saw him as a Russian patriot who tried to steer an impossible course between the two dictators, and his reputation has accordingly been resuscitated since the fall of Soviet Communism. What distinguished Vlasov and the Liberation Army from other Soviet dissidents, however, was their willingness to harness the liberation campaign to the German war effort. Soviet soldiers on the German side shot at ordinary Russians, burned down Russian villages and looted Russian homes. This was more than simple anti-Bolshevism, and it was harder to forgive. Even if Vlasov and his German allies had succeeded in defeating the Red Army and destroying Stalinism, there is little evidence to suggest that Hitler would have allowed an independent, liberal Russian state in place of the vision of harsh empire that drove his conquest on.
In reality the Russian liberation movement, like the national movements in the Baltic states, the Ukraine and Belorussia, was seen by Hitler as a threat. The conquest of the eastern territories was a gigantic colonial war, not a war to emancipate the peoples of Eurasia. Hitler saw the German future in the east in terms of colonial exploitation. A German governing class would rule the region, supported by a network of garrison cities - rather like the fortified towns of the Roman empire — around which would cluster settlements of German farmers and traders. Plans were drawn up for a web of high-speed motorways to link the regional centres with Berlin and a wide-gauge double-decked railway, along which would sweep the new imperial élite through land tilled by modern helots, millions of Slavs labouring for the master race. Any of the new colonial peoples surplus to the requirements of the empire were to be transported to Slavlands beyond the Urals or left to die.17
It was a vision of empire straight out of science fiction. For the conquered peoples it became fact. The native nationalist movements were violently suppressed. In the Ukraine the mood of temporary exhilaration felt at the retreat of the Soviet order evaporated when from the end of August 1941 the Einsatzgruppen, whose job it was to root out anti-German elements, began systematically to round up Ukrainian nationalists and intellectuals, most of whom were executed.18 In the Baltic states, hope of winning back their independence was broken by the creation of a Nazi Commissariat Ostland, placed under the Nazi commissar Hinrich Lohse, and by Hitler’s decision that the Baltic states should eventually be incorporated into the greater German Reich. Lohse was a Nazi ‘old fighter’ from the early days of the movement who used his new power to indulge in a corrupt caricature of imperial rule - requisitioning palaces and a fleet of cars, and living the life of a pampered sybarite until he fled his post in 1944.19 In the Ukraine a second Commissariat was set up in September, a vast sprawling province that at the height of the war embraced fifty million people. Its ruler was another old Nazi comrade, the Gauleiter of East Prussia, Erich Koch.
The appointment of Koch was meant as a signal to anyone on either the German or the Soviet side who was in any doubt about the nature of the new Nazi empire. At his inauguration speech in Rovno, a city chosen deliberately because it was not a centre of Ukrainian culture or historic identity, Koch expressed words which soon became notorious: ‘I am known as a brutal dog… Our job is to suck from the Ukraine all the goods we can get hold of… I am expecting from you the utmost severity towards the native population.’20 Ukrainians were regarded as racial inferiors, the lowest kind of humanity. Koch was by no means alone in regarding the Ukraine as dispensable. Goering reflected that the solution in the Ukraine was to kill every man over fifteen years of age. Himmler wanted the intelligentsia ‘decimated’. When one of Koch’s deputies angrily confronted a German official who was planning to reestablish rudimentary education in the region, he blurted out the true state of affairs: ‘Do you wish to create a Ukrainian educated class at the time when we want to annihilate the Ukrainians!’ To protests that forty million people could not be annihilated, the deputy replied: ‘It is our business.’21
The exact number of Ukrainians who died at the hands of the German occupiers will probably never be known. Death was meted out arbitrarily. Peasants who, when questioned by German officials, admitted to being able to read and write were liable to be shot as ‘intellectuals’. Farmers who withheld food stocks or refused to work the fields for the Germans were hanged as an example to the rest. In the district of Rivne the German farm administrators introduced flogging for everything from slack work to the failure of peasants to remove their caps in the presence of Germans; they imposed curfews; the carrying of a knife was punishable by death.22 Thousands of peasants were hanged or shot for suspected partisan activity. Throughout the Ukraine 250 villages and their populations were deliberately obliterated to encourage good behaviour in the rest.
Thousands more died of starvation. The seizure of food supplies to feed the vast German army and its hundreds of thousands of horses left the cities of the conquered region desperately short of food. In the Ukraine it was decided to eliminate ‘superfluous eaters’, primarily Jews and the populations of the cities. In Kiev the meagre food ration was cut sharply (200 grammes of bread per week), roadblocks were set up to prevent food from entering the city and the collective-farm markets supplying the cities were suspended. As the supply of food reached famine levels, the peoples of the east were denied effective medical care. In Kharkov around 80,000 died of starvation, in Kiev almost certainly more. During 1942 food seizures were relaxed so that in the spring farmers would be able to sow their fields, but with the following harvest German demands rose higher still. In 1943 people in Kiev were fed only one third of the minimum they needed for subsistence. The collective farms were not dismantled, as many peasants had hoped, but were run by German officials in place of the local Communists, who had either fled or been killed. In some places grain quotas were fixed at double the level demanded by the Soviet system. Peasants struggled to survive on the food growing on their plots.23
The labour programme was as harsh. In the first weeks of the war Ukrainians volunteered for labour in Germany, but their treatment was so poor that labour quotas had to be imposed and labourers recruited by force. The first volunteers were bundled into boxcars without food and sanitation facilities. When they arrived in Germany they were kept behind barbed wire in rough barracks. Their food was less than the necessary level of nutrition; they were segregated from the rest of the population and forced to wear armbands with the word Ost (East) sewn onto them. When the flow of volunteers dried up, workers were simply seized at gunpoint. Villages that failed to hand over their quota could be torched and their leaders murdered. Churches and cinemas were raided and the people inside shipped off to Germany. Thousands of young Ukrainians fled to the forests and marshes to join the partisans rather than work in captivity. In 1942 Hitler issued a personal order requiring the deporting of half a million Ukrainian women between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five, to be assigned to German households and Germanized. By the end of the war the Ukraine had supplied over four-fifths of all the forced labour from the East.24 The effect of exploitation on this scale was to alienate much of the population in the East as thoroughly from the Germans as from Stalin.
From Russia’s War
By Richard Overy
Epigraph: C. Andreyev, Vlasov and the Russian Liberation Movement: Soviet Reality and Émigré Theories (Cambridge, 1987), p. 209.
1 M. Burleigh, Death and Deliverance: ‘Euthanasia’ in Germany 1900‐194; (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 230‐31.
2 B. Krawchenko, ‘Soviet Ukraine under Nazi Occupation’, in Y. Boshyk, Ukraine During World War II (Edmonton, 1986), p. 17.
3 A. Dallin, German Rule in Russia (2nd ed., London, 1981); S. Kudryashov, ‘The Hidden Dimension: Wartime Collaboration in the Soviet Union’, in J. Erickson and D. Dilks, eds., Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies (Edinburgh, T‐994), PP‐ 240‐41.
4 O. Caroe, Soviet Empire: The Turks of Central Asia and Stalinism (London, 1967), pp. 2.47‐8.
5 N. Heller and A. Nekrich, Utopia in Power: The History of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the Present (London, 1985), pp. 428‐9; figures from M. R. Elliott, ‘Soviet Military Collaborators during World War II’, in Boshyk, Ukraine, pp. 92‐6.
6 Elliot, ‘Military Collaborators’, p. 94; S. J. Newland, Cossacks in the German Army, 1941‐1945 (London, 1991), pp. 105‐6, 116‐17; W. Anders, Hitler’s Defeat in Russia (Chicago, 1953), pp. 177‐9. The figure of 250,000 includes some 50,000 who were incorporated into the Cossack Division (15th SS Cossack Cavalry Corps) and other Cossacks recruited into anti‐partisan units, a further twelve reserve regiments and those who served in small numbers in German units, or as non‐combatant auxiliaries. The usual figure given for Cossack combatants is from 20,000 to 25,000 in 1943; the larger figure includes all those who fought for or worked for the Germans at some time between 1941 and 1945.
7 Elliot, ‘Military Collaborators’, p. 93.
8 Kudryashov, ‘Hidden Dimension’, pp. 243‐5; Elliot, ‘Military Collaborators’, pp. 95‐6.
9 Anders, Hitler’s Defeat, p. 191.
10 Details from Andreyev, Vlasov, pp. 19‐29; J. Erickson, The Road to Stalingrad (London, 1976), pp. 352‐3.
11 Andreyev, Vlasov, pp. 38‐40.
12 Ibid., pp. 210‐15, Appendix B, Vlasov’s Open Letter, ‘Why I Decided to Fight Bolshevism.’
13 Ibid., pp. 206‐8, Appendix A, The Smolensk Declaration, 27 December 1942.
14 J. Hoffmann, Die Geschichte der Wlassow‐Armee (Freiburg, 1984), pp. 205‐36.
15 Heller and Nekrich, Utopia, pp. 437‐8; Hoffmann, ‘Wlassow‐Armee, p. 244.
16 Andreyev, Vlasov, pp. 78‐9.
17 On German plans for the East see R‐D. Müller, Hitlers Ostkrieg und die deutsche Siedlungspolitik (Frankfurt am Main, 1991); M. Burleigh, ‘Nazi Europe’, in N. Ferguson, ed., Virtual History (London, 1997), pp. 317‐39;
N. Rich, Hitler’s War Aims: The Establishment of the New Order (London, 1977), PP‐ 32‐2. Ff.
18 Krawchenko, Soviet Ukraine, pp. 22‐3.
19 Rich, War Aims, pp. 359‐60.
20 I. Kamenetsky, Hitler’s Occupation of Ukraine, 1941‐1944: A Study in Totalitarian Imperialism (Milwaukee, 1956), p. 35.
21 Ibid., pp. 43‐6.
22 On peasant ‘intellectuals’ see R. Bosworth, Explaining Auschwitz and Hiroshima: History Writing on the Second World War (London, 1993), pp. 149‐51; Krawchenko, ‘Soviet Ukraine’, p. 27; O. Zambinsky, ‘Collaboration of the Population in Occupied Ukrainian Territory: Some Aspects of the Overall Picture’, Journal of Slavic Military Studies 10 (1997), p. 149.
23 Krawchenko, pp. 26‐7; Zambinsky, ‘Collaboration’, p. 148 on Kiev rations; T. P. Mulligan, The Politics of Illusion and Empire: German Occupation Policy in the Soviet Union 1942 ‐1943 (Westport, Conn. 1988), pp. 93 ‐103 for figures on German food supplies from the USSR. Over 10 million tons of grain and almost 2.5 million tons of hay were taken.
24 Out of 2.8 million Ostarbeiter carried off to Germany, 2.3 million came from the Ukraine. See Krawchenko, ‘Soviet Ukraine’, pp. 27‐8; Kamenetsky, Occupation of Ukraine, pp. 46‐8.
Atrocities committed by the German military during World War II indiscriminately against men and women, who, particularly in the east, were objectified and dehumanized. For decades historians maintained that the German armed forces during World War II, collectively called the Wehrmacht, were simple soldiers who had the misfortune of fighting for a criminal regime. Historians tended to separate the Wehrmacht from the specialized units that accompanied it into battle such as the SS, the Secret Police (Gestapo), and the infamous police battalions responsible for murdering entire Jewish communities on the eastern front.
Soon after the war, memoirs from leading German generals seeking to distance themselves from the Nazi regime flooded the publishing market. U.S. and British historians tended to rely on these accounts and portrayed the Wehrmacht as an honorable institution that was hijacked by a clique of criminals. One of the underlying reasons for this sympathetic portrayal was the cold war. The perceived threat from the Soviet Union necessitated that West Germany become a full partner in the defense of western Europe. Denigrating the Wehrmacht, many of whose generals were needed to rebuild the new German military (now called the Bundeswehr), was counterproductive. There was also a sense that the Nuremburg Trials properly identified and punished those responsible for Nazi Germany’s crimes during the war. Too many historians accepted the notion that the Wehrmacht was not involved in the widespread atrocities committed against civilians and soldiers. For the most part, these atrocities occurred on the eastern front against the Soviet people, specifically Jews.
By the mid-1980s historians started to delve further into Wehrmacht activities on the eastern front and quickly learned that regular army units were intimately involved in committing atrocities. The Wehrmacht supported the Nazi regime’s goal of racially reordering Europe and conquering Lebensraum (living space) for Germany in the East. Every organ of the German government was given a role in accomplishing this task, including the Wehrmacht. In 1934 all officers and enlisted men of the Wehrmacht personally swore a loyalty oath to Adolf Hitler. Most did so enthusiastically because they considered Hitler an advocate of military spending and saw a chance to return the military to greatness. The oath bound the Wehrmacht tightly to the Nazi regime and ensured its participation in every phase of Hitler’s plan to destroy European Jewry and dismantle what he called Judeo-Bolshevism in the Soviet Union. Even without the Wehrmacht’s ideological affinity for National Socialism, the German military already had a past record of committing atrocities against civilians during World War I, specifically in Belgium and parts of eastern Europe. Most of the incidents during World War I were isolated, but this was not the case during World War II. Mass executions, population removals, poor treatment of prisoners, and the use of slave labor were Wehrmacht policies handed down from generals to subordinates in an organized fashion.
The Wehrmacht prepared for a different sort of war against the Soviet Union years before the conflict began. According to Nazi leadership, the future war against Poland and the Soviet Union was to be one of annihilation. Beginning with the invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Wehrmacht carried with it into battle orders from Hitler to liquidate the Polish intelligentsia so that they would not threaten the German settlement of Polish territory. The Wehrmacht applied broad definitions of who could be considered a partisan and treated large numbers of civilians as legitimate military targets. This definition included Jews, who by virtue of being Jewish were considered automatic threats to the Wehrmacht. Most people identified as partisans were executed, a task shared by the Wehrmacht, the SS, the Gestapo, and police battalions created to occupy territory after the Wehrmacht moved forward. Although many Wehrmacht generals disapproved of their soldiers participating in executions and otherwise enforcing a harsh occupation (mostly for reasons of limited resources), evidence shows that Wehrmacht units were used interchangeably with the SS to execute Jews, Polish clergy, and intellectuals.
Once Germany invaded the Soviet Union in July 1941, the Wehrmacht was already experienced at fighting a war of racial annihilation. The Wehrmacht had to guard against disorder in the ranks while still fulfilling its ugly task of killing large numbers of civilians. Letters and films taken by Wehrmacht soldiers at the front reveal that daily life on the eastern front involved treating civilians and enemy soldiers alike as subhumans worthy of extreme treatment. One of the more infamous Wehrmacht policies was to execute a large number of citizens for every Wehrmacht soldier killed by partisans or resistance fighters. This policy applied to all of Germany’s occupied territories, but it was enforced more regularly in the East. For example, if 5 soldiers were killed by partisans, the Wehrmacht might kill 500 civilians from the town where the partisans allegedly lived. Such policies typified the Wehrmacht’s conduct on the eastern front in particular, especially because it regarded the Soviet people, not just the military, as a dangerous enemy.
Although the Wehrmacht did not specifically target women when committing atrocities, it had no qualms about executing women and children during reprisals for actions taken against its soldiers. Films taken by Wehrmacht soldiers show soldiers putting nooses around the necks of Russian women accused of spying and attaching signs labeling them “Jewish cows” or other insults. Men and women had different experiences in the ghettos and concentration camps erected by other organs of the National Socialist state, but the Wehrmacht’s atrocities were characterized by their speed, brutality, and indifference to artificialities such as gender. The Wehrmacht viewed entire populations as enemies and treated them accordingly.
References and Further Reading
Bartov, Omer. 1992. “The Conduct of War: Soldiers and the Barbarization of Warfare.” The Journal of Modern History 64:32–45.
———. 1992. Hitler’s Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich. New York: Oxford
Forster, Jurgen. 1981. “The Wehrmacht and the War of Extermination against the Soviet Union.” Yad Vashem Studies 14:7–33.
Rossino, Alexander B. 2003. Hitler Strikes Poland: Blitzkrieg, Ideology, and Atrocity. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.
People in German-occupied Europe were compelled to work in Germany. Between 1941 and 1945, between 10 and 12 million people were forced to leave their homes and were transported to work in Germany (Stephenson 2001, 121–124). In August 1944, women constituted one-third—1.9 million—of the 5.7 million foreign forced laborers in Germany (Herbert 1997, 296). With its male workforce depleted by conscription and unwilling to compel its own women, who employed many strategies to avoid unpleasant labor, to do industrial or agricultural work, the Nazi regime was dependent on foreign labor. Women from Western Europe were not normally compelled to work in Germany, although many volunteered to do so. This was not the case with Eastern European women, who were forcibly removed to Germany and, after the ordeal of transportation, were subjected to harsh conditions and grinding exploitation. Women from Eastern Europe, predominantly from Soviet territory, constituted 87 percent of foreign female workers in Germany (Herbert 1997, 296). Western European female workers were paid wages, could rent rooms, and were free. Eastern European women, assigned to industry, were housed in barracks and were under police control. If they became pregnant, they might be forced to submit to abortion or were forced to work until delivery and to return to work immediately. Children with supposedly Aryan characteristics were placed in the Lebensborn program to be raised as Germans. Others were warehoused in institutions where they usually perished from neglect and malnutrition. Eastern European women often suffered sexual abuse. Some were forced into prostitution to service the bordellos established for foreign workers. Women workers assigned to agriculture, particularly in southern Germany, often fared better than those in the cities.
References and Further Reading
Herbert, Ulrich. 1997. Hitler’s Foreign Workers: Enforced Foreign Labor in Germany under the Third Reich. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University.
Homze, Edward L. 1967. Foreign Labor in Nazi Germany. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University.
Stephenson, Jill. 2001. Women in Nazi Germany. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
The Shoah in Ukraine: History, Testimony, Memorialization
Edited by Ray Brandon and Wendy Lower
Indiana University Press/ US Holocaust Memorial Museum
392 pages; $35
This extensive collection of studies on the Holocaust in Ukraine originated in the summer research workshop held at the US Holocaust Museum in 1999. Since then, the editors - Ray Brandon, a historian based in Berlin and the former editor of the English edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Wendy Lower, of the Ludwig Maximilian University at Munich and the author of Nazi Empire Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine - sought out additional contributions from international experts who were doing groundbreaking research on this subject.
They show how Hitler's grandiose plan to settle 10 million Germans and establish his private paradise in Ukraine failed dismally, but more than 1.5 million Jews were robbed and murdered there.
Lower describes how the Nazis developed a sinister, utopian plan for exploiting Ukraine's human and natural resources. They firmly believed that this was absolutely essential to secure the Reich's future and the continued sustenance of the Wehrmacht, and since the largest population of Soviet Jews resided there, they had to be eliminated, and as fast as possible.
The plan put an end to Ukrainian hopes for independence, but this did not prevent them from cooperating with the regime, at least insofar as the robbery and the murder of Jews was concerned.
Hitler appointed the Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg to be the minister of the Reich Commissariat Ukraine. Accompanied by top Nazis, Rosenberg had brought in commissars, or "the torch bearers of the German nation," especially educated for this purpose. They were no bureaucrats, but dictators who ruled with the gun and a whip, which they placed on their desk in office hours. When one became "too soft," he was quickly sidelined by others. Social outcasts, amateurs, adventurers and careerists became the colonial-style governors and decided who shall live and who shall die.
The detailed history of the district of Zhytomir provides an example of such a "settlement." Dieter Pohl, of Munich's Institute of Contemporary History, describes how the first mass killings by the Einsatzgruppen and the Wehrmacht, accompanied by Ukrainian auxiliaries, were followed by a planned, systematic murder, robbery and destruction of Jewish communities.
The Jewish existence in Western Wolhynia from 1921 to 1945 in general, and in the typical village of Kolky in particular, is described in depth by Timothy Snydor of Yale. There was not much love lost between the local Jews, Ukrainians and Polish settlers. Each community lived more or less according to its own agenda. Poles sought to "polonize" the area; Ukrainians fought for their independence and were largely responsible for violence. The Soviet occupation of September 1939 offered Jews comparative safety and new opportunities, but the German invasion of June 1941 turned their lives into burning inferno.
Frank Golczewski, of Hamburg University, presents Galicia as an important case study of mutual German-Ukrainian relations. Ukrainians knew that they were cheated by Germans, but this did not stop them from serving in various German military detachments, robbing and killing Jews, and being described as "the worst" by Holocaust survivors. The Ukrainian auxiliaries were often assigned the bloodiest tasks and their collaboration made a significant contribution to the Jewish genocide.
Dennis Deletant, of London University College, examines the deportation of Jews from Bessarabia and Bukowina to Transnistria, which Romania occupied after the joint German-Romanian attack on the Soviet Union. Transnistria became the graveyard of more than 250,000 Jews, the principal victims of Romanian dictator Ion Antonescu and his deputy Mihai Antonescu. Both subscribed to the "ethnic purification" of Romania, free of Slavs and Jews, sharing a common border with Nazi Germany.
It was only after Stalingrad that Antonescu put a stop stop to the Jewish deportations and turned down the German request to send the remaining Romanian Jews to the extermination camps in Poland.
Andrei Angric, of the Hamburg Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Culture, writes about the Thoroughfare IV, Hitler's grandiose plan to build a highway across Ukraine, which was expected to support both the conquest and the German settlement. Soon, however, the Germans realized that the anticipated large numbers of Jews and Soviet POWs needed for the heavy labor had already been murdered. German civilian authorities, who badly needed slave labor, often vainly tried to persuade the SS that it would be more convenient to murder Jews by hard labor, hunger and exhaustion.
Martin Dean, a scholar from the US Holocaust Museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, describes how the ethnic Germans settled in Russia before the October Revolution served Hitler rather well, with few exceptions.
Alexander Kruglov, a writer from Kharkov, provides us with detailed statistics of the Jewish losses during those crucial years of 1941-1944.
Karel Berkhoff, of the Center for Holocaust Studies of the University of Amsterdam, comments on the story of Dina Pronicheva, one of the few survivors of the Babi Yar massacre.
Omer Bartov, of Brown University in his "White Spaces and Black Holes" describes Galicia's past and present. The "white spaces" illustrate the omissions and poverty of the Ukrainian Holocaust memory, while the "black holes" note the selective marginalization of the past.
An extensive index accompanies this well-edited, printed and bound volume. Ukraine has almost completely erased its Jewish past. In the town of Kosiv, for instance, where once 2,400 Jews lived, the house which belonged to a local rabbi was turned into a museum in memory of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) which murdered Jews. We find almost no traces of shame or regret.
Bitter memories and the specter of the Holocaust continue to haunt Jewish-Ukrainian relations. However the fact that 1,200 Ukrainians were awarded the title of Righteous Gentiles by Yad Vashem testifies that there must have been many more Ukrainians who helped Jews in hiding. But only a full admission of the disturbing facts of the past and a full respect for the perpetuation of the memory of the former Jewish communities may at least partly exorcise the guilt and open a new page of the mutual relations. Perhaps this book may serve as one of the guiding lights in this direction.
Friday, November 21, 2008
European Waffen-SS Map issued by Amtsgruppe B of the Main Office on 1 February 1945. This map illustrates cloth insignia worn by foreign volunteers in the German Armed Forces.
During the early 1930s the Fascist and Nazi movements spread all over Europe. Almost each western and later eastern European country formed one type of Fascist or Nazi Party.
These pro-nazi groups made and issued numerous types of cloth insignia that represented their political party.
The purpose of this page is to illustrate some of the types of foreign volunteer legion cloth insignia that existed during those turbulent years. I would not attempt to describe each political party that existed but if your interested in learning more about it then I recommend you read the reference books listed in my "Bibliography" Section.
Between 1944 and 1947, over two million Russians who'd been living in the occupied countries of Europe, some voluntarily, some not, were forcibly repatriated to the Soviet Union. Many met death by execution immediately while others were literally worked to death in the hundreds of Gulags that dotted the largest slave society in history. Whether civilian or soldier, Joseph [Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili] Stalin, who was the Soviet government, reasoned that anyone who'd been living outside the borders of the Soviet Union was to be considered contaminated by anti Soviet ideology, and therefore could not be trusted. It mattered not that many had been forcibly removed from their homeland, by the German enemy.
Approximately one million of the expatriates were military men who for various reasons took up arms against Stalin and volunteered to fight with Germany. Most, but not all, were Soviet citizens. Never before in the annals of warfare had so many soldiers abandoned their own to fight for the enemy. The reasons for this say more about the horror of life under the Bolsheviks after the 1917 Revolution, than Hitler's Germany. Sadly, these happenings also say much about the English and to a lesser extent the Americans, many of whom were willing participants in the forced repatriation. It would not be until the nineteen eighties when the awful truth began to emerge, that the world would come to know about what has come to be known as — The Secret Betrayal.
The problem of the Cossacks
In September of 1944, the German authorities allocated Northern Italy to the Cossacks for resettlement. This region was chosen because it was far from the Soviet lines and was one of the small not-German areas that were still situated inside the territories of the decreasing Third Reich.
The Cossacks settled first in Gemona del Friuli, but quite soon they moved to Tolmezzo in the Carnic Alps. Already before their arrival, they had been promised land and houses, which of course extremely irritated the local inhabitants.
Again, the Cossacks tried to start a life as in a Don-stanitsa. They formed a settlement rather than a military force, though their ‘regiments’ waged war against the communists again.
In the winter of 1944-1945, the allied intelligence services in Italy received messages that a large Cossack group had settled in the far end of Northern Italy. Since Suvorov's famous campaign in 1799, this was the first time that they showed up in the Alps, but it was no surprise. British and American troops had continually arrested little groups of Russians, mostly members of convict battalions.
via Don Cossacks
The increasingly difficult state of affairs facing the German Reich’s military machine since 1943, caused by the heavy losses on the East front and bombings of German industrial cities by the Western Allies necessitated the shifting of focus on reinforcing the manpower pool with youth resources. In the sphere of anti-aircraft defence already in 1943 with the aid of Hitler-Youth (HJ) movement infrastructure the young Germans were employed for the needs of the armed forces in auxilary role on considerable scale. At the beginning of 1944, however, the non-German youth also entered the combat in similar capabilities. Ideological service of the SS system, co-ordinating the campaign of employing the foreign youth, defining foreign Waffen SS formations as “international European anti-Communist armed forces”, envisioned the SS-Youth as the reserve base for the elder comrades-in-arms and future “European youth front”, as gradually part of the German SS-Youth was transferred for frontline service in German divisions.
Monday, November 17, 2008
GSA 32nd Annual Conference, St. Paul, October 2-5, 2008
Panel 140: Perpetrators or Victims? Letters from German Soldiers at the Eastern Front, 1939-1945
Moderator: Gerhard Weinberg, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"Lieutenant Peter Stoelten's Letters: Loyal and not a Nazi"
Astrid Irrgang, Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes
"Through My Father's Eyes: From Accomplice to Victim"
Konrad H. Jarausch, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"Wehrmacht Soldiers' Choices: Between Enthusiasm and Reluctance"
Klaus Jochen Arnold, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung
Commentator and reporter: Dirk Bönker, Duke University
This well-attended panel featured three thought-provoking papers that focused on the deeds, experiences, and agencies of Wehrmacht soldiers and their participation in the Nazi pursuit of war and racial empire. Two of the papers focused on the particular stories of two individual soldiers, based on careful analysis of large and extraordinarily rich surviving collections of personal correspondence. In contrast, the third paper offered general reflections upon the choices and complicities of the nearly 20 million male soldiers who served in the Wehrmacht.
Drawing on her monograph on the subject published in 2007, Astrid Irrgang offered a lucid study of Peter Stoelten, a young front soldier and junior officer. Born in 1922 into a protestant-bourgeois family, Stoelten joined the Wehrmacht after the completion of the Notabitur and served in army combat units on the eastern and western fronts throughout the war until he was killed in military action in the spring of 1945. Portraying Stoelten as a willing, enthusiastic soldier and engaged officer who eagerly participated and fought in the war, Irrgang argued that Stoelten kept his distance from Nazi ideology and was capable of engaging in humane behavior towards enemy soldiers that ran counter to the dictates of Nazi Vernichtungskrieg. His nationalist-protestant-statist outlook and bildungsbuergerlich aspirations combined with his sense of identification with soldiering and the military community propelled Stoelten, who remained, by and large, silent in his field postal letters on Nazi mass murder and the Holocaust in particular. Eventually, suggested Irrgang, Stoelten was ready to sacrifice himself in the face of impending defeat, consumed by despair over the course of the war and survivors' guilt towards his fallen comrades.
Konrad Jarausch expertly explored the wartime pursuits of his own father, Konrad Jarausch, drawing on his new edition of the latter's wartime personal correspondence. Born in 1900, Jarausch was drafted in 1939 and then spent his time in non-front units, eventually working at a camp for Soviet prisoners-of-war where he contracted typhoid fever and died in early 1942. A reluctant soldier, who attempted, for a while, to be dismissed from military service, Jarausch supported and participated in the Nazi pursuit of war after 1939 as a volkish nationalist, his historian son argued. The elder Jarausch did so even as he increasingly voiced misgivings about German brutality against civilians in German-occupied Poland and grew concerned about the prospects of ultimate German victory.
Jarausch argued that his father eventually began to undergo a process of reorientation, if not personal conversion, as he became complicit in the murderous treatment of captured Soviet soldiers in a Durchgangslager. This reorientation expressed itself in the recognition of shared humanity framed in stark Christian terms and subsequent reaching out to inmates on a personal level.
Klaus Jochen Arnold, the co-editor of the collection of Konrad Jarausch's wartime correspondence, offered some thoughts on the agency and complicity of Wehrmacht soldiers in Nazi Vernichtungskrieg. Noting that the public and scholarly perception of the Wehrmacht has been dominated by those small groups of soldiers who either fully embraced Nazi ideology or engaged in active resistance, Arnold cast the vast majority of Wehrmacht soldiers as reluctant participants in the war who sought to fit in and avoid conflict with Nazi regime while identifying with the larger German national collective. These soldiers participated in, and knew about, Nazi mass murder to different degrees, with "tens of thousands" of Wehrmacht soldiers on the eastern front being personally involved in the Holocaust, even if often not directly as killers. According to Arnold, the average soldier lacked the information and imagination to recognize the scale and scope of Nazi genocidal and mass murder. Moreover, rank-and-file soldiers had little room to maneuver, let alone to openly counteract the regime, if they did not want to put their own well-being at risk, with some soldiers thus couching moral disagreement in strictly technocratic-utilitarian terms or engaging in small acts of resistance to protect potential victims.
These three engaging papers prompted productive debate among the panelists and the audience. The commentator, Dirk Bönker, praised the papers' salutary emphasis on the complexities and diversity of individual experiences. He also identified three larger analytical issues that the papers drew attention to: how the Nazi pursuit of war and racial empire tapped into nationalist outlooks and desires, setting in motion continuous and open-ended processes of negotiation, convergence, and differentiations between nationalist Germans and Nazis; how the wartime history of Wehrmacht soldiers was a history of continuous individual choices and moral judgments involving the terms and meanings of the participation in the Nazi pursuit of war and mass murder, with (some) soldiers capable of acts of kindness or solidarity towards "the other" regardless of continuous participation in the Nazi machinery of war or comprehensive knowledge of the Nazi murderous pursuits; and, finally, how important it is to explore the complicity of Wehrmacht soldiers in the Nazi war and genocide in the wider contexts of military Vergemeinschaftung and the specific practices and experiences of war in the military killing zones.
Questions surrounding the use of field postal letters as sources were at the center of several contributions from the audience. Speakers from the floor asked about the importance of surveillance and self-censorship and their impact on the contents of the field postal letters. In addition, Doris Bergen, University of Toronto, asked to what extent the analysis of the letter exchanges between soldiers and their correspondents back in Germany could yield insight into the conflict-ridden relations between "front" and "home." The nature and pervasiveness of war enthusiasm among Wehrmacht soldiers also attracted considerable attention as did the comparison to World War I and the issue of post-war memories. And, finally, Gerhard Weinberg, the chair, argued against the validity of the analytical distinction between combat units and rear units, between "Front" and "Etappe," as a way of making sense of the varying complicity of Wehrmacht units and personnel in Nazi Vernichtungskrieg.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Above left: Tank driver of the Russian Peoples Liberation Army (RONA)
Above, middle: A soldier of the RONA Storm Brigade
Above right: Colonel Sacharow, Deputy Commander of the Russian National People’s Army (RNNA)
Lower left: A first lieutenant of the RNNA, 1942
Lower right: Standard bearer of the 1st Russian National Brigade, 1943
In addition to the ROA, there existed additional units of Slavic volunteers, such as the 1st National Russian Army (RNA), the volunteer regiment “Warjag” In the course of the war, most of these units joined with Vlassov’s forces.
Left: Private Lance Corporal and machine gunner in the Russian guard
Right: Lieutenant of Artillery in a guard regiment.
Middle: Major General Holmston-Smyslowskij, Commander of the 1st Russian National Army in 1945
Uniform insignia of the armed forces of the Committee for the Liberation of the Russian Peoples (KONR).
Underneath: A soldier of the Infantry Regiment of the First ROA Division in 1945.
Next to that: Cavalry of the Intelligence Branch of the 1st ROA Division.
Beneath that: A First Lieutenant on the Staff of the First ROA Division.
The Russian Army of Liberation (ROA): Corrective Revision by Russian Historians
By Wolfgang Strauss
On a spring day in East Prussia in 1945 an officer of the Red Army observed a mounted sergeant flaying a young Russian captive with a long leather knout. The captive was exhausted, half naked and completely covered in blood. Every time the whip cut into his flesh, the young man raised his bound hands and hoarsely addressed the officer in cultivated Russian: “Captain, Sir.” Crack! “Captain, Sir.” Crack! Crack! The captain, who was also a cultivated man, appeared impassive. He made no attempt to save the doomed youth, however. He knew that he would be arrested on the spot if he intervened and he knew that his gold epaulettes would not protect him. The flayed youngster was not Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s first encounter with captured Vlassov soldiers, but it seems to have been the most gripping. On another occasion he was watching as three captured Vlassovtsis were being escorted to the rear. When a Soviet tank came thundering past, one of the three suddenly threw himself under its treads.
When the Red Army began its offensive against Königsberg, Stalin’s orders were unmistakably simple yet inconceivably brutal: “Everything is allowed!” The soldiers of the Red Army were officially encouraged to pillage, rape, and massacre. Simple soldiers were allowed ten pounds weight of plunder, generals several boxcars full. By terrorizing the civilian population the Russians caused them to panic and clog the roads behind the German lines, further hampering movement of the German army.
Solzhenitsyn instructed his men to maintain discipline, spare civilians, and observe the ten pound limit as he read Marshall Rokossovsky’s orders of the day to his battery of artillery:
“Tomorrow morning at five o’clock begins our final offensive. All Germany lies before us! One final blow and our enemy will collapse. Our army will be crowned with immortal victory!”
He did not repeat Stalin’s order to rape and slaughter, but every member of the Red Army was aware of it. The terrible exhortation “Everything is allowed!” had no need of confirmation by an insignificant officer such as himself.
All East Prussia was soon in flames. In Nights in East Prussia , written in a slave labor camp later in 1945 and published in Germany in 1974, Solzhenitsyn describes the brutality of this volcanic eruption of rape and slaughter. Nights is a depiction of stark terror in verse form, filled with vivid and horrifying images of cows bellowing in their blazing stables while the bodies of their owners char in the flames of their houses. Donald M. Thomas, Solzhenitsyn’s English biographer, has attempted a prose reconstruction which releases the horror from its lyric form. What remains is the protocol of an orgy of blood. Its title is simply Solzhenitsyn.
He describes the fate of an old peasant woman in an isolated farmhouse. A merry group of Red Army soldiers tell her, “Cook us some eggs, Mother!” which she hurriedly does. They thank her, eat the eggs and shoot her down, then murder her bedridden husband. The grandson of the elderly couple is able to escape by jumping out of a window. “Halt! Click your heels together!” they laugh while shooting at the fleeing child.
According to Solzhenitsyn, the women who were shot were fortunate. He recalls one woman lying on a blood-soaked mattress next to the body of her young daughter. The woman is battered and mutilated but still alive. How many soldiers have raped her? A platoon? An entire company? The woman begs the Russians to shoot her. The author does not tell us whether she gets her wish, although he cannot bring himself to release her from her torment. His entire book is filled with such ghastly and haunting depictions. In another passage he describes the Red Army as “human hordes gone berserk.” Donald Thomas asks: Were they really human? (Solzhenitsyn, page 156.)
Solzhenitsyn recalled that on January 26 his unit suddenly found itself isolated and cut off by the enemy. On this occasion, however, they were surrounded by their own countrymen: Vlassov’s soldiers were attacking with desperate bravery. On page 252, volume 1 of The Gulag Archipelago (Paris edition) Solzhenitsyn writes:
“I was watching when, in the early dawn, they suddenly sprang up from the snow where they had gathered in their camouflage coats. With a great ‘Hurra!’ they suddenly attacked the positions of the 152mm section with hand grenades, putting the heavy guns out of commission before they could fire a shot. Pursued by their flares, our last little group of survivors fled for three kilometers across the snow covered fields, all the way to a footbridge across the narrow river.”
Even as early as 1945, Solzhenitsyn felt admiration for his countrymen in Wehrmacht uniform with the St. George cross on their arm, who fought so heroically. He created a human and literary monument to them in his epic story of the Gulag, written twenty years after the War. After another twenty years had passed, he completed the Vlassov epic with a radical revision of the history of the “Great Patriotic War,” for which he won the Nobel Prize in literature. He did more than demolish the Stalinist interpretation of World War II as a “good war,” however. He was also the first Soviet combat officer to make the transition from military tribute to political rehabilitation of the Vlassovtsis. In his essay “The Russian Question at the End of the Twentieth Century,” which appeared in the renowned Russian literary magazine Noviy mir In July 1994, Solzhenitsyn wrote:
“As for the attempt on the German side to form Russian volunteer units, and the belated formation of the Vlassov army, I have already covered that in the Gulag Archipelago. […]
It is indicative of their valor and devotion that at the end of the winter of 1944-45, when it was obvious to everyone that Hitler had lost the war, in those last few months, tens of thousands of Russians volunteered for that Russian army of liberation. This was the real voice of the Russian people. The story of the Russian Liberation Army has been slandered by ideologues as well as the nations of the West, which could not imagine that the Russians desired liberation for themselves. Nevertheless it represents a heroic and manly page in Russian history. We still believe in its continuation and future today.” (Page 120 of Piper’s German translation, Munich, 1994)
Solzhenitsyn defends General Vlassov against accusations of high treason with the historically based argument that in the history of the Russian Empire there have been times when domestic repression was a greater danger than the external usurper. “The enemy within was too dangerous, too deeply rooted,” he writes. In order to overthrow the internal enemy, it was necessary to form an alliance with an external force. In order to overthrow Stalin, Vlassov was forced to form an alliance with Germany.
When these revelations appeared in the leading Russian forum of the intelligentsia in July of 1994, the publisher received sharp criticism as well as enthusiastic agreement. The criticism came primarily from the old, hard-line Stalinist historiography, which dictated that a renaissance of Vlassov style idealism should not and would not be tolerated. Now, five years later, the situation has changed dramatically. The counterrevolutionaries are in retreat and Stalin’s Great Patriotic War is no longer dogma for the young generation of historians. Vlassov and his Liberation Army have become the icons of a nationalistic young intelligentsia which has an anti- Bolshevik as well as anti-liberal view of the world.
The most recent evidence for this comes from the military historians S. Drobyasko and A. Karashtshuk, the authors of the lavishly illustrated Wtoraja Mirowaja woina 1939–1945: Russkaya Osvoboditelnaya Armija (The Russian Liberation Army in World War II), published late in 1998 by the renowned Moscow military publishing house AST. There are several reasons for the rapid advance of revisionism in Russia. In the first place, “Stalinist-Antifascist Political Correctness” has been effectively neutralized. In the second place, the formerly secret Soviet archives have been opened to international historians. In the third place, the influence of revisionist literature from the West has had a profound influence. In the fourth place, the process of deideologizing historiography is continuing apace in Russia, as everywhere. In addition, there is no entrenched tradition of anti-nationalism in Russia comparable to that which now wields such powerful influence in Germany. As a result, Russia is relatively free of the historical and political censorship oppressing Germany. And finally, the Russian media provide no forum for Russians infected with the self-incrimination malaise, as do the German media. The printing of the pro- Vlassov book in 1998 is perhaps the most striking symbol of the irreversible advance of historical revisionism in Russia. It is obvious that in view of this extensive documentary work on the Russian Liberation Army (ROA), Germany’s wartime Eastern policy must also be considered in a different light. After all, the development and deployment of the ROA were possible only with the support of the Wehrmacht. In the introduction, one reads:
“For fifty years, Soviet publications about World War II ignored the fundamental fact that more than a million of our countrymen fought on the German side.”
It says that these official publications slandered the Vlassov soldiers as “traitors” and hid the fact that
“[…] they too were patriots who passionately undertook the noble attempt to liberate our country from its inner enemy, which in their opinion was much more vicious and dangerous than the external opponent.”
The introduction states that from the beginning, German front line troops made every effort to win both prisoners and civilians over to the war against Bolshevism. According to Drobjasko the Wehrmacht was interested primarily in volunteers with clear political convictions—both men and women who saw themselves as victims of Bolshevik terror, collectivization, and the “Great Cleansing.” In addition to personal reasons, national reasons were also important. From these developed an explosive complex of motivations to seek vengeance. After June 22, 1941 there were a great many reasons for Soviet citizens who had been robbed and humiliated to change over to the side of the Germans. The Wehrmacht realized this and began early to mobilize an armed opposition. They began organizing an ideological mass movement designed to overthrow the Stalinist regime. Its goal was to incite revolutionary upheaval within the Soviet Union.
Drobjasko writes that the Germans soon realized that such a mass movement required a political center in the form of a counter-government in exile. This counter-government in turn required a charismatic leader at the head of the future national government of Russia. The man chosen for this role was Lt. General Andreij Vlassov, Commander of the 2nd Assault Army, who had been captured on July 12, 1942 after the defeat of his encircled troops. As early as September of that year, Vlassov agreed to a proposal of the German Army Staff to create an army composed of Russian prisoners of war, which would fight against the Stalinist dictatorship. Vlassov signed the Declaration of the Russian Committee of Smolensk “…to all the soldiers and commanders of the Red Army, the Russian people and all peoples of the Soviet Union.”
(The depiction of these events is based on a nearly literal translation of the Drobiasko text in The Russian Liberation Army in World War II.)
Drobjasko explains that it was a very long march from the initial propaganda campaign with its buzzwords of a Russian Liberation Army to the realization of the political and military missions named in the Smolensk appeal. The reasons for the delay, he tells us, were the crassly differing and often diametrically opposed views of Third Reich leaders regarding their Eastern policy. Until the turning point in the fall of 1944, the ROA consisted almost solely of individual Russian units in the Wehrmacht. It was not until the catastrophic military situation on the Eastern Front had become clear to all, that the decision was finally made to create a politically autonomous Russian central command and organize powerful Russian combat units under Russian commanders. Drobjasko writes:
“The founding congress of the Committee for the Liberation of the Russian Peoples (KONR) took place in Prague on November 14, 1944. In this Committee all the Russian anti-Soviet forces on German territory joined together. This included immigrants, national committees and East European military units, all united in the goal of fighting for a free new Russia which would be free of Bolshevik exploiters. […] At the Prague Congress it was decided to organize all the combat forces of the KONR under the command of General Vlassov. Regarding the activities of these combat forces, the ROA was given the status of army of an allied nation, subordinate to the Wehrmacht only in operational decisions.”
The principal aims of the Russian liberation movement as proclaimed in Prague were the same as had been announced in Vlassov’s appeals of September 1942: the overthrow of Stalin and his clique, the extermination of Bolshevism, the conclusion of an honorable peace with Germany, the creation of a new Russia without Bolsheviks or capitalists, and friendship with Germany and the other nations of Europe. Again, the Red Army and all other Russians were urged to defect to the Russian Liberation Army which was allied with Germany.
Drobjasko’s terminology and argumentation clearly and consistently show his revisionist position. Throughout his book, the terms “Russian Liberation Movement” and “Russian Liberation Army” appear without limiting, relativizing, or otherwise discriminating quotation marks. In his introduction he emphasizes his objective attempts to depict the history of the Vlassov army without prejudice and without polemic. He is interested only in discovering why millions of Russians voluntarily chose to take part in a nationalist and socialist war of liberation on the side of the Wehrmacht. Drobyasko is solely interested in finding the answer to this question. From his analysis it is clear that his sympathies lie with the ROA.
As a historical investigator, Drobyasko observes no taboos. He describes Hitler’s decisions following the Prague congress objectively and in great detail. Hitler approved the appointment of Vlassov as commander in chief of all volunteer Russian units on January 28, 1945. This authorized Vlassov to create and appoint the officers corps of the ROA according to his own judgment. And that was not the limit of his authority. General of Cavalry Ernst Köstring, in his capacity as Inspector General of German forces, transferred control of two complete divisions to the Russian commander on February 10. After passing in review, all the officers, noncommissioned officers, and soldiers swore an oath to fight against Bolshevism “to the last drop of blood, for the sake of the Russian people.” Hitler’s name was not mentioned in their oath.
Two assault brigades of the ROA, “Rossiya” and “Weichsel,” received their baptism of fire near Küstrin and Frankfurt/ Oder in early May during the battle of the Oder. Under the command of Colonel Galkin they were successful in smashing the Soviet bridgeheads on the west bank of the Oder. Himmler congratulated Vlassov personally on his success. After the 15th Cossack Cavalry had been attached to the combat forces of the KONR, Vlassov commanded more than 100,000 men. Drobyasko describes the ROA’s heavy weapons in detail: heavy artillery, anti-aircraft artillery, as well as the training schools for officers and noncoms, the training camps, even press relations (there was no German censorship). Colonel Meandrov served as commander of the officers’ school. When he was captured in August of 1941, interrogating officer Herre of the German General Staff asked his opinion about whether Soviet resistance would soon collapse. Meandrow, Chief of Staff of an entire Soviet corps, replied:
“I have the highest regard for the Wehrmacht. Nevertheless the German army will not be able to defeat the Soviet Union unless they are able to mobilize the Russian people against Stalin.”
Mobilize the Russians against Stalin! At the end of 1944 it was already too late. There was no longer any question of which side had superior manpower and materiel. On December 19, 1944 Göring agreed to the formation of an air force for the ROA. This was the Voyenno-vosdushnikh sil, or VVS. On February 4 it was placed under the command of Vlassov, who named Maj. Gen. Malitsev to head it. The 1st Airplane Regiment consisted of six squadrons (Me 109, Ju 88, He 111, Do 17) and one parachute battalion: 5,000 men altogether.
Most of the ROA commanders had served in the Red Army as staff officers or high-ranking troop commanders, some among the very highest. Included were the highly decorated front commanders Turkyl, Baidak, Bunyachenko, Shilenkov, all former members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In the early stages of the war they had defected to the side of the conqueror for political and ideological reasons. This was because the external enemy, Germany, offered the only possibility of vanquishing the internal enemy, the greater enemy. An alliance between the Wehrmacht and a Russian army of national liberation offered hope of national salvation. Such was the dream during the stormy summer of 1941, as Guderian’s and Hoth’s tanks were rolling toward Moscow. The reality was that it was March 1945 before the Vlassovtsis received their first tanks and attack guns under the white blue and red flag of Peter’s Russia, three tragic years after the Battle of Moscow.
At the beginning of 1945 Major General Trukhin, a former teacher at the Academy of the Soviet General Staff, served as chief of the general staff and deputy commander of the Russian National Armed Forces. According to Drobyasko, he was a first-class war strategist. What course would the war have taken if an East European liberation army had been created, not in November 1944, but two years earlier, in the fall of 1942, when Vlassov called for his people to join in a war of national liberation on the side of the Wehrmacht? The Russian revisionist Drobyasko does not present this portentous question in so many words, but his study supports the conclusion that Stalin would have been the loser.
This view is shared by author and former editor of the Deutsche Welle Botho Kirsch, a renowned German Slavicist and expert on Russia. “History must be rewritten,” he declared at a presentation of the Society for Defense and Security Policy (Gesellschaft für Wehr- und Sicherheitspolitik, GWS) in Gießen in February, 1999.
“Historical truth is clearing its path. […] Young Russian historians have proven with Soviet documents that Stalin was planning to attack Germany as early as 1938.”
This is the gist of Botho Kirsch’s speech as reported in the Gießener Allgemeine Zeitung, February 4, 1999. Russian revisionists report that Stalin was extremely anxious about the possibility that the Wehrmacht might smash the gathering Soviet assault before he could finish preparations for the coming war, which is precisely what happened on June 22, 1941. We now know that purges in the commanding staffs of the Red Army, combined with the unwillingness of the terrorized soldiers and officers to sacrifice themselves for the hated Communist Party, had brought Stalin’s regime to the verge of total collapse in the first months of the war. In a short time three and a half million members of the Red Army surrendered or defected “just to get something to eat,” reports the historian Kirsch. Today Russian authors confirm that the Russians who lived under German occupation were better off than those under Soviet rule. In the end, as Kirsch points out, the political and psychological blindness of the German leadership, combined with massive aid from America and England, were decisive for the defeat of Germany.
Today even the German media realize that the fate of the Soviet Empire was balanced on the razor’s edge in the summer and fall of 1941. A large part of the repressed population welcomed the Germans as liberators, and the advance of the foreign troops as salvation. This was particularly true in White Russia, the Ukraine, and the Baltic nations, as well as western parts of central Russia. The most recent illustration of this phenomenon is provided by the motion picture Unternehmen Barbarossa Juni 1941 (Operation Barbarossa) which was broadcast February 28, 1999 by the ZDF (Second German Public Television.)
This film, directed by Stefan Brauburger, is anything but objective, which is of course in keeping with the intention of the producer. The film ends with numerous interviews with German veterans of the campaign. Their recollections all support the views of German and Russian revisionists. Millions of Slavs, Balts, Turkmens, Caucasians, Christians, and Muslims were hoping after June 22 for “Salvation” by the Germans—a campaign to liberate them. “Better Hitler than Stalin!” was the watchword for millions of Soviet citizens in the summer of 1941, according to the eyewitnesses.
None of those hoping for salvation by the Germans could have foreseen the consequences of Hitler’s Eastern policy. In 1942, Hitler was simply not interested in Vlassov’s proposal— not until the military catastrophe in the summer of 1944, i.e., the destruction of his entire Central Army Group. He did not consider playing the Russian card until January 28, 1945 when he sanctioned an alliance with the ROA. All German hopes for a political and military turning point sank in the mud between the Vistula and Oder in the decisive battles of the spring of 1945. And yet, as Solzhenitsyn records, the struggle for freedom and desire for independence had not yet died among those repressed by Stalin’s rule. Staring death in the face, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, White Russians, Ukrainians, and Russians continued fighting for the survival of their countries.
Today, Russian historical revisionism embraces every aspect of German-Russian relations since 1917, both in war and peace. The German Influence on the History of the Soviet Air Force is the title of the most recent publication of the revisionist publishing house RITS AVIANTIK in Moscow. Compiled by Dimitriy Sobolyev in cooperation with the German researcher Gerhard Wissmann and British specialist Steven Ransom, it contains 128 pages with numerous documentary photographs. The book describes German-Soviet collaboration in aeronautical research between 1921 and 1930 (the first trimotor, all metal bomber was developed and built by Junkers in the Soviet Union) as well as the continuing development of the most advanced German rocket and jet airplanes (Me 262, Me 163, He 162, Ju 287). Photographs of German aircraft production teams in Odessa taken in 1946 as well as of the research facilities at Podberesie and Savelova, which were unknown in the West, appear here for the first time, supplement this chapter of history. Sobolyev makes it clear that the modernization of the Soviet air force during the period 1945-1953 was due primarily to hijacked German developmental teams.
We eagerly await the next disclosures by the Russian revisionists. Not all the formerly secret archives have been “cracked” yet!
For Further Reading
– Fritz Arlt, Polen-, Ukrainer-, Juden-Politik, Askania (Wissenschaftlicher Buchdienst Herbert Taege), Lindhorst 1995
– S. Drobyasko, The Russian Liberation Army (Russian), Moscow 1998
– Erwin Erich Dwinger, Die 12 Gespräche 1939–1945, Verlbert und Kettwig, 1966
– Gregory Klimow, Berliner Kreml, Cologne/Berlin 1953
– Heinrich Jordis von Lohausen, Reiten für Rußland: Gespräche im Sattel, Graz 1998
– Ernst Nolte, Der europäische Bürgerkrieg 1919–1945, Munich 1997
– Dimitriy Sobolyev, The German Influence on the History of the Soviet Air Force (Russian), Moscow 1996
– Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Die russische Frage am Ende des 20. Jahrhunderts, Munich 1994
– Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Ostpreußische Nächte, Darmstadt 1976
– Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Der Archipel GULag, Paris 1975
– Donald M. Thomas, Solzhenitsyn, Berlin 1998
– Jürgen Thorwald, Wen sie verderben wollen: Bericht des großen Verrats, Stuttgart 1952
First published in Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung 3(3) (1999), pp. 250-256. Translated by James M. Damon